My relationship with food is fucked up. Whatever alcoholics have with alcohol, I have that, but with food. I’m not overweight, but my body fat percentage is nothing to write home about (I definitely have some dad bod going on). But considering what I eat and how often I eat it, I’d say I look healthy. My real problem is that I’m allergic to pretty much everything, so consuming these things absolutely punishes my body and even worse, my family’s senses. Lots of farting and snoring. I’m not Los Angeles yoga class allergic either; I’m allergic like I went to an allergist, took the scratch test and the results show allergies towards eggs, barley, corn, rice, dairy, wheat, cashews, bass, salmon, tuna, crab, apples, pineapples, and carrots, to name a few. For so much of my life there’s nothing I’ve loved more than food. The only thing that’s ever come close is golf. And last year, to add insult to injury, I learned that I’m allergic to that too. You heard me right, I AM ALLERGIC TO GOLF! Devastating. My allergy test results revealed that I’m hypersensitive to Eucalyptus, Mulberry, Oak, Walnut, Russian Thistle, Bermuda, Bluegrass, Fescue, Johnson Grass, Oats, and Ryegrass. So here I am writing a golf food review about Los Angeles’ municipal golf course watering holes, and I’m allergic to grub, grass, and even suds. So, how’s that work? One, it’s my publication, and I can do whatever I want. Two, I grew up golfing on Los Angeles’ public courses and know them inside and out. And three and most important, I’m a certified food and golfaholic. I’ve been and will continue smashing hot dogs and golf balls til the day I die, or until I shit myself mid-round. And then maybe I’ll stop smashing the hot dogs.
Here’s the bottom line, I took this assignment because I wanted to hang out with my best friend Ron Moon, and basically one of our favorite things to do is eat. Even if it’s averagely delicious hot garbage, Ron is just as much a savage as I am, and I just knew he’d be down. Somehow we came up with the brilliant idea of trying to eat at five golf courses in roughly five hours, a challenge that we literally relished in and triumphed at with overwhelming victory. Needless to say, Ron and I have little fat kids inside of us, and we successfully consumed pancakes, ham steaks, eggs, hash browns, coffee, cheeseburgers, buffalo wings, onion rings, apple pie, ice cream, ghetto dogs (a bacon wrapped hot dog with mayonnaise), fish tacos, reuben sandwich, club sandwich, bloody mary’s and a pitcher of beer all between the hours of 8am to 1pm at Penmar, Rancho, Griffith, & Brookside. Dead serious, and I’d do it again.
In terms of the results, as you could surmise, golf course food just isn’t that special. Some places are better than others, but, for the most part, it’s comfort food grease bombs. It even seems that the harder the establishment tries, the worse the experience is. For example, Brookside in Pasadena who recently “redid their dining experience,” is now just poorly inspired trash hidden behind a menu in cursive font, waiters in dress shirts and black slacks, daily specials that never change, and basically no soul whatsoever. To me, it’s the nostalgia of the public golf course itself that provides half the flavor of the food it serves. You don’t have to change anything, the grumpier the service, the better the experience. Give me the grease!
As far as Los Angeles municipal golf course food goes, here’s what I suggest: Lunch at Griffith after a round is acceptable, add a cold beer to it and it’s a classic venue for the stereotypical golf meal. Similar experiences exist at Woodley, Encino, and Debell. I suggest breakfast before your round at Rancho Park. They’ve got a full bar so add a bloody mary. Obviously, avoid eating at Brookside, and you can skip on Westchester’s kitchen as well. However, there is one meal that you CANNOT miss in life: Gus’ pancakes at Penmar By The Sea in Venice. They are life changing. Golfer or not and allergies aside, every Angeleno deserves this feast. They are even Los Angeles Times-certified and Gus has been the man there for 30 years. The defining moment for me was when I asked what to order for breakfast, and he responded, “I don’t like eggs!” Which, come to find out is obviously why his pancakes are so goddamn delicious. Last but not least, to me, a hot dog is a hot dog. Every course in LA, public or private, seems to serve the same Hebrew National and soft bun from the same vendor. Pro golfers likely don’t eat them because they are sodium gut bombs. But golfers don’t golf for the food, and foodies don’t go to golf courses to eat. But anyone who misses out on those hotcakes is incomplete.